Currently in: Naivasha, Kenya

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This job is the shit!

Well, been WAY too long. Many updates to come soon. But for now, a bit on the really cool work stuff we are up to here, and then LOTS of adventure stories to come.

As you know I have been working in Naivasha, Kenya since November of last year. I love this area. It’s beautiful, right by the lake, peaceful, and people here are so keen on changing things here for the better. The lake is surrounded by villages of people living in a wide range of circumstances. Most people here make about $2-$5 a day- that is if they can find work. They live in mud 1-2 room houses, or rent a room in a large dormitory like block of housing. Water is brought via donkey cart, trash is thrown everywhere and sanitation is horrendous. If households have access to a latrine, it’s an outdoor pit one, probably shared by 20-60 people. There is no way to empty these latrines, so as they fill up, they over flow until someone closes it up and digs a new one near by.

A pit latrine currently in use in Kamere Village

What we have been doing is testing our solar treatment with CDC-Kenya. Treating buckets of collected shit on a solar concentrator and then taking samples to a lab in Nairobi to test that we are officially killing off all harmful pathogens. So I am actually reaching my gloved hand into buckets of heated shit and grabbing samples into a bag… yummy right?

 Yes that is me reaching my hand into a barrel of hot shit
 One of our new concentrators heating and treating a bucket of fresh shit

Meanwhile we are working on the toilet situation here. We are testing various models of in-home toilets, where we rent to households a small toilet that they can have as their own. With the rental fee we are employing a collector to come twice a week to collect the full buckets of shit, and replace with empty clean buckets. This gives families the dignity of being able to use a toilet in their own home, allowing them to keep it clean and sanitary, and having a constant way of removing the waste properly.

Two of the families using our toilets

Then we are working on reuse methods of what to do with the shit now that it is treated. Human feces has a lot of cool properties to it, high calorific value, it is naturally sticky do to the fibers in it, and it’s all organic. It’s hard to use these properties because it can also be really smelly, and just plain gross when you think about what you are doing. We are currently working with this incredible group in one of the villages. It is a volunteer group of handicapped persons that do various things around the villages to help out. Everything from trash collection and sorting, to HIV education and support, to making more environmentally friendly briquettes from trash and organic waste, and really anything else they can learn about and help with. So we came to them with the idea of our shit collection and treatment process and they were pumped. Even more so when I started explaining my ideas for creating briquettes and charcoal out of treated human waste that could be then burned as fuel right there in the village. We are starting testing on that as well as new ideas for steam powered engines run off of burning treated shit and these guys are incredible. they are so excited to help out and are really taking ownership of this knowing that I, with Sanivation, are not able to be here for forever.

Briquette making with Handicap group in Village

So basically things are exciting. Really starting to take off and move in ways I never expected. Really it is too much for just Hana and I to handle, so thankfully we are getting more and more of the villagers involved and they are so excited about these new ideas. Next we will be running a pilot in the refugee camp – Kakuma, up on the South Sudan boarder. Our website is also getting a make over, so pay attention to for more specific updates on everything.

The problem. Because there are always problems in life and this is just another one. Due to some very disappointing and uncontrollable circumstances our funding is, well, non existent right now. Some of the funding we were counting on has been denied due to legal issues and bureaucratic nonsense, and some of it has just been delayed and delayed some more. We now find ourselves in a place were incredible work is going on here, but we are running low on funds, specifically just living expenses for Hana (my co-worker) and I to be here. We have been working for the past 5 months here without any form of income and have been using lots of our savings to pay for various projects here outside of sanitation such as solar showers, solar cookers, proper trash disposal and its starting to catch up with us. Grants should be coming in… in government time, but until then, money is tight. We are applying for 501 3c status, to become officially a non-profit to start taking some much needed temporary donations.

On the positive note, I am starting to apply for grad-schools and they are very impressed with everything I have been up to since I graduated from Tech and all this work should help to get me funded for my PHD which I plan to start, back in the states, fall 2014. So in the next year I will be back in America… crazy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Home in a nut shell.

So what have I been up to while in the States these past 2 months… the best way to answer that is well… a lot. I flew back from Kenya end of Feb, then I happened to get stuck in Johannesburg S. Africa for about 10 days (but thats a whole story of its own) and then finally made it back to Atlanta in early March.

First I had Sarah and Luke’s wedding in Atlanta. Amazingly beautiful. Sarah has been one of my best friends since freshman year at tech, i dont know where I would be with out her in my life. And her and Luke, they are so perfect for each other, I was so happy to be able to be part of that union. It was a blast of a reception and basically like a reunion of seeing so many good college friends that I hadn’t seen in years. 

The next day I went early Sunday morning to Savannah to play a bit of St. Patty’s rugby tourney. Again, great times, great reunion.

Then Monday I flew off to New Mexico. Where I rented a car in Albuquerque and drove to Taos, New Mexico where I had a month long internship with Earthships. Earthships is a company that builds completely self sustaining houses from recycled or reused materials. 
There houses are completely off grid, catching there own rain water, filter water for multiple reuses, solar and wind power, passive heat and air-conditioning, green houses for food, temperature, and water re-use, even septic tanks with effluent to tress to deal with sewage. Plus all the houses are designed in there own special way so they look like hobbit holes meet fairy land and everyone of them is special and unique. So my internship was basically free construction labor. I went and did construction all day, every day for about 4 weeks learning some practical masonry skills as well as understanding how these earthships are designed and built. Fascinating stuff. As a bonus all the people I worked with were absolutely incredible. Specifically the other interns, we had a blast together. 

Then SUPER bonus was blown away with how cool Taos and the area surrounding the town are. Taos is a small town, but pack full of art, local breweries, music, and outdoor adventures. We were minutes away from rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, natural hot springs, skiing, camping, mountains, the Rio Grand Gorge, dessert and so much of it completely undeveloped. Let’s just say I was in haven. So much so I decided to buy land there and in a few years build my own adventure hostel.

From New Mexico I actually went home to Houston. Got to be home for Easter (2 years in a row now!) and I loved dyeing eggs with my Nephew Philip, hanging out with my family and friends drinking daiquiris eating fajitas. Being home in Houston is always great, but the time meant just to relax gets packed pretty quickly between catching up with friends and playing rugby. Got to play in a rugby tourney in Houston and actually won MVP of the tournament before playing a fairly good round of pub golf. 

The following weekend I flew to Atlanta for one of my best friend’s bachelorette party. It was a weekend affair with going out on the town one night, then out camping the next. I also got to speak at the Southwestern Production meeting for GA. Meaning I got to give an encouraging talk to a bunch of people about to head out to sell books this summer. I got to do that again in Waco Texas the following weekend before heading up to Dallas for a rugby round robin. I had a lovely time remembering just how beautiful Texas is in the Spring. We even pulled over on the side of the highway for some wild flower pictures with some of the rugby girls. 

That following week was all about my brother Doug and my new sister in-lawMichelle’s wedding. There was much prep work to do, lots of excitement in the air, and had to get everything and everyone to Louisiana.

It was so good to see the extended family and friends. So much crawfish. A great party. My standard plus one and best friend of many years Gabe drove to LA to celebrate with us. I actually got ordained a couple months ago so that I could officiate over the wedding. I have to tell you how much fun it was to chug Jim Bean out of the bottle with my brother- the groom, the bride, my other brother – the best man, and me – the minister of the wedding.
 It was a blast of a wedding, the rain or the flower girl couldn’t stop us. And the reception was a bunch of dancing, eating and drinking, basically what my family does best. Then for the after party we took off to the casinos in Lake Charles. So much fun playing craps with everyone, meeting strangers and then being given beautiful suits and large amounts of playing chips and cigars for free. (ya that’s a fun story, ask if you want the full story)

Then it was back to Atlanta for some meetings at the CDC and hang out time with friends there. Got to go camping in the rain and cold up at Tallulah Gorge, got to play some rugby and say goodbye to some really incredible ppl.

Then it was a simple 2 day trip before I found myself back in Kenya!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trip to the coast

I am not the biggest planner.  I know that surprises you. But I love to travel with only a vague idea of what to do/ where to go/ how to go about doing it, it leaves space for the random adventures that come your way. I feel Hana has gotten a crash course in my way of living care free and sadly, sometimes it comes back to bite you in the rear.

I think it was Thursday night before we decided early Friday morning (yes the next day) we were going to take off to Nairobi and find a bus to the coast and explore Mombasa and some beach for a quick 3 day weekend trip. We did a quick pack up, and left for Nairobi at 6am on a matatu. When we got to Nairobi we had a small idea of where or how to catch a bus to Mombasa but the great thing about Africa is, if you just walk down a main road people are literally going to walk up to you and offer you anything you could want. And that is precisely what happened. Not 5 min of walking down a main road in down town Nairobi a man walked up and asked if we were looking for a bus to Mombasa ( I kid you not, this is how they do things here).  The bus was REALLY low end, tickets cost about $5 to take us 8 hours to the coast. The bus was rather empty so we asked when it was leaving “very soon” was the answer (oh how I have come to hate the word soon in Africa) I also wanted to make sure it was a direct bus so I asked about number of stops. They said “2 stops only” (never believe this answer either in Africa).  So hana and I satisfied with the answers paid our tickets and hoped on the empty bus around 9am with his assurance that we should be there before 4pm leaving Hana and I enough time to figure out where we were going once we got to Mombasa. Well 2 hours later we had not moved yet. Shortly after that the bus moved…. to a gas station, where we waited about another hour to finish filling up most the seats on the bus. Once were pretty packed in with people, cargo, live chickens ( I can not make this stuff up, the lady in front of us had about 3 live chickens under her seat), we were finally on our way, I think it was about 15 min after that that the boy across the aisle threw up, nice. Hana and I had packed PB&J supplies for bus ride snacks so we munched, and read and slept, keeping most our valuables on our laps and the rest of our things on the shelf above our heads.  

You can already assume that our “direct bus” that would get us there before 4pm was not all it was promised to be. We made TONS of stops, for anyone on the side of the road who wanted on or anyone on the bus who wanted off – any where. We finally got into Mombasa well past dark, maybe around 8pm. We were kind of caught off guard when it was finally the last stop, there had been so many stops, we both had just passed out into a deep sleep, and we were just on the side of the road somewhere in Mombasa. But a fellow passenger woke us up and we gathered out things and that’s when we realized that Hana’s Mac laptop was missing. Someone had stolen it from us while we were sleeping. Ya, it really sucked. Losing a computer is so much more than just the cost of replacing it. Its all the documents, the photos, the videos, that are gone forever. Then its trying to figure out how to live without a computer. The magnitude of having that laptop stolen would only grow more and more. We were pretty upset, but found a taxi and headed to a hostel right in old town. There are few people in this world who have such a great attitude and perspective on life as Hana. While it was really crappy that her computer was stolen, she realized there was nothing we could do about it and she said she would rather not worry about it and just enjoy our weekend get away. So we dropped our bags at the hostel and went out to find one of the main reasons we decided to come to the coast – good Indian food.

Mobasa is an incredible town with a very rich history, it was owned by first tribes of the Swahilli who pretty much ran the African slave trade, then some sultans, then the Portuguese took over it, then the Muslim Arabs, then the English who populated the area with many Indians, then in the mid 1900’s it was given back to the Kenyan people. Because of the many conquers, and religions and it being the prime stop on the east coast of Africa on the trade routes plus a beautiful coast line the town has a culture unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Hana and I spent Saturday wandering through old town, a mix of alleyways, winding cart paths, and people living basically on top of each other they are so packed in. We went to the spice market, and to Fort Jesus a huge fort built on the shore that is made completely from coral, we even wandered into a hindu temple and followed an adorable little barefoot girl to pet the cow and feed the birds by the pounds. It was a sensory overload, the sites, smells, constant commotion everywhere, the Muslim prayers at full volume, everything from tuk-tuks to donkeys to bikes to camels on the roads. It was incredible to see how many different cultures and religions for the most part live very peacefully together. It was hot too. Hana and I have become so used to Naivasha perfect weather everyday, that we forgot what heat felt like. It was SO hot. By the afternoon we were ready to hit the beach.

We caught the ferry to the south of Mombasa wanting to go camp on one of the most famous beaches on the Kenyan coast, Diani. It is hard sometimes to be a white person during the low season here in Kenya. When we got off the ferry there was an almost full out brawl over who would be our taxi to Diani beach. We quickly hoped in the tuk tuk offering the best price and promising that he knew exactly were we could camp (another thing Kenyans say but never mean). We were dropped off at some expensive hotel, not sure where the beach even was. Being the low season there were not many taxis or matatus around so Hana and I decided to just start walking in the direction of the good looking curry place we had passed. While on our walk, our very very hot walk, we met a local and asked him about places to camp on the beach. He got really excited and told us to follow him, he knew a couple places. He took us off the main road back into a very poor village/slum area, through the houses and then just stopped at one point and said here, we had 2 American guys camp here once before. And pointed to an alleyway between the houses where a pile of trash was.  (again I am not making this up). The villagers had gathered around anxious to find out what 2 mazungus were doing back there. We tried as politely as we could to refuse his offer no matter how good of a price he tried to bargain with us. We told him we were looking for something on the beach, and he said his uncle lived on the beach, and there was some land next to him that we cold camp on and he excitedly started leading the other direction. By this time Hana and I were very hungry, very hot, and not too excited to see this guys next recommendation. We decided to not follow him to his 2nd “campsite”.

Ok side note we finally made it to this curry place, and it was pretty good, but the garlic nan was one of the best things I have ever tried in my life. And there we found out about an actual campsite right by the beach called, you will never believe it “Diani Beach campsite”. When we finally got there it was already 5pm but the campsite was prefect and safe, and real close to the beach and the beach was VERY beautiful. White sand, palm trees, crystal clear water, it was very nice. That night we had dessert in Ali Babbas cave. It’s a natural cave made in the coral that is now this incredible restaurant lit by candles all over the coral cave wall. At this point I should probably mention the lack of pictures- my camera was stolen, and Hana’s camera charger was stolen, so this whole trip we were camera-less, so use your imagination. The walk back to the campsite along the beach was beautiful there was plenty of light from the moon and you could watch the thousands of crabs chasing the tide.

We got up VERY early the next morning to watch sunrise on the beach and ended up playing soccer with a bunch of locals on the beach. Not to shabby way to start the day. Then we loaded up in a tour van as we were headed to the last island of Kenya for some sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and real sea food. We took a old wooden dowel sail boat out to the last island in Kenay before you hit Tanzania. I got to go scuba diving while Hana snorkled along the reaf. As always, scuba diving is incredible. The colors, the variety, the feeling of being 60 ft underwater, its something else. As we started our dive there were a couple dolphins not 10 ft from us, it was really neat to see them swim around from under the water. Huge sea turtles are found in that area, sadly, we didn’t see any. For lunch they brought us this island where we were served fresh fish, crab and lobster right on the beach. It was very nice. We even got a quick tour of the village that lives on that island and told that next time we can come camp on their island.

Back in Diani we spent a bit more time just laying on the beach before we needed to go to Mombasa to catch a night bus back to Nairobi. On the way we met a guy who is a full time professional acrobat. His crew has traveled the world performing amazing stunts. He was kind enough to help us not only get to the Mombasa bus station, but helped us find a much safer, better bus to get us back to Nairobi.

Ah the ups and downs of Africa. It is a never stop adventure here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures with Hana

So most of yall know my good friend Hana Lokey from Tech. I was basically her PL her freshman year, and looked to her as a little stooge. We just had passions for the same things: sports, Africa, people, underprivileged people, traveling, Jesus, outdoors, tackling people- you know, the normal things. In fact Hana got a kick out of telling people she was little me during her time at tech. 

Hana and I at tug her freshman year

We have always kept in good contact, never spending that much time together, but when I was back in Atlanta we made sure to grab a meal and talk about life and dreams. This past summer we were trying to plan an epic road trip/camping trip to celebrate her graduation from tech, sadly it never happened.  Well, about a month ago I got to fly Hana out to Kenya to live and come work for me on these projects that got to be too much for me to handle alone.

One would think that once you spend every waking and sleeping moment with the same person for a month you would get tired of them, praise the Lord that is just not how it has been for us. This is the first time that we have spent a lot of time together and it has been incredible. From the first day she arrived the adventures started. It was so nice to share the ridiculousness and the awesomeness of my life here with someone. Since she arrived we have been licked all over by giraffes, been on numerous motor bike spills, cooked up a storm in my little outdoor kitchen, been attacked by chickens & baboons, had a cat adopt us, build an incredible solar latrine in a village, mountain biked, kayaked, hiked, camped and seen some of the most incredible sun rises and sun sets. 
At the elephant orphanage in Nairobi

But this past weekend was so ridiculous, so African, it topped them all. Hana and I decided to go on a safari, by ourselves, in the 2nd most visited national park in Kenya. We rented a cheap little car, we named him Kobi due to him being an all-star and due to the upside down Lakers sticker on his window and decided to pack up and drive up to Nakuru National Park, camp and see some REAL African animals.

It has been so long since I have been on a good ol’ fashion car road trip (being that no one really has cars in Kenya) so we made a great play list, bought so many nom-noms, and hit the road Friday afternoon with huge grins on our faces. As if driving on very precarious roads, with ridiculous Kenyan drivers, and on the left side of the road wasn’t enough to handle, FYI Nakuru National Park- 2nd most popular in all of Kenya, attracting Millions of visitors a year from all over the world- doesn’t have ANY signs leading the way to the park. Hana and I kept stopping to ask for directions and ended up in a random slum on the outskirts of town. When we stopped to ask directions our response was filled with plenty of “I love you”s and “let me hop in and show you”s till we finally got this, our best answer “follow this road, then in a bit turn right, then you will want to turn left, but don’t stay straight, pass the tarmac road, then later turn right, follow that road and you are there.” I kid you not. That was the BEST directions we could get. Don’t believe me? Watch this video of later when we asked a guy and he confessed his love for Hana. Note the “road” we are driving on.

Somehow we finally make it to the park. We got there 10 min before the gate closes! And apparently only moments pass when a lion was right by the gate just hanging out. But we did make it in, and we had passes to camp on the furthest point of the park by a huge waterfall. Because it was already so late most of our drive to our campsite started at twilight and we saw hippos in the lake, lots of buffalo, weird giant reindeer looking things and just jammed to our music loving the fact of being in nature. It got REAL dark really fast. At one point in our headlights on the side of the road was a hyena! I don’t think I have ever seen one in real life and boy are they ugly- and BIG. Surprisingly big. We kept driving, chatting, singing, seeing random animals ever now and then and then on our play list that super epic song from Lion king – you know when Simba finds out who he really is and decides to go back to face Scar came on. We got really excited because we were in the perfect setting for such a song and then, I kid you not, we came over a hill and BAM! An entire pride of lions just strolling down the road. It was about 13 female and 1 full grown male. They were the most majestic thing I have ever seen, slowly sauntering down the road. We got to follow them for about half a mile, they were not more than 10 ft from our car, huge, beautiful, shinning in our headlights. Wow. And with that Lion King song playing, it was nothing short of magical.

Our campsite ended up being only a mile or so away from that, with slight hesitation we headed to the only campfire in the camp site field and decided to stay near other people. The couple we met at the campfire where Mazungu Kenyans (white Kenyans who generations ago colonized this area) who owned and operated Crescent Island, a small island and animal preserve out on Lake Naivasha. They were delightful company and told us about growing up in Kenya while we made our dinner and sipped on good ol’ Safari Whiskey (cheap Kenyan whiskey). After dinner we were just sitting around the camp fire when the couple across form us said “oh my, look at that cat!” Hana and I thinking some super large wild cat had snuck up behind us started looking off in the distance kind of scared of the possibility, and then we finally looked right in front of us- inches from Hana’s foot, licking our leftover pasta off the plate was a Gente Cat! This weird looking creatures is a small cat, with both cheetah print and stripes. It was so weird, I have never send something like it before. Hana and I spent a large chunk of the night chatting, looking at the incredible stars, and gazing at the waterfall in the moonlight.

The next morning we got up well before sunrise to make it up to Baboon Cliffs for an incredible panorama view of the park during sunrise. It’s hard driving around such wilderness because not only are there very few signs, if any, but random roads are blocked by fallen tress, flooded plains, dead buffalo, so you have to find your way around and we spent most of the day on washed out dirt trails where we pushed Kobi to his limits and had us very worried at times. Sunrise was spent at “out of Africa’ lookout point and was incredible. We lunched in the middle of a savannah plane on top of our car. With giraffes, zebra, gazelles, warthogs, and so many other amazing animals all around us. We saw flocks of flamingos down by the lake, a couple more lions throughout the day, 1 rhino, and some of the most incredible scenery you can imajine. It was quite the safari.

We had been given the name and number of an ex-pat in Nakuru doing water and sanitation development work. When we left the park we had scheduled to meet up with him. He took us up to Menigi Crater, the largest crater in East Africa. Formed only about 400 years ago the cliff down into the crater is about 500m drop, and the area of the blow crater stretches for  miles. Menigi is Massi for grave, apparently when the volcano blew thousands of Massi were killed and barred in the volcano flow and rocks in the explosion. Sad story, but incredible view. And we got to learn a lot about Massi history in the area. We also got to see a public school near by that our new friend and his non-profit FAB: Food, Aid, and Building had put in a rain water collection and huge water tank for. We got invited to have dinner with him and his Kenyan fiancĂ© and then found a random campsite on the high way to pass out early.

Early the next morning Hana and I donned our cutest picnic attire (sun dresses & flip flops) and headed into Nairboi for Blankets and Wine. This monthly outdoor concert has become one of my favorite events in Kenya. Every time I go I meet more and more incredible people, so being my 4th time I already knew so many people there from so many different times here in Kenya. Its like a reunion every month. So I just jump around from group to group, catching up, drinking plenty of wine and non stop picnic food. The music is always great, and there is always a bunch of dancing (this is Africa), and so many laughs your belly hurts by the end. We only got lost in Nairobi a couple of times before we found our way back to Naivasha late Sunday night after 1 amazing weekend.

I love my life here!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Coolest Couple ever and Shamless Pitch

My apologies for the ubber long delay with out updating. Life, mainly work, kinda took off here in Naivasha. It’s always hard deciding what to update on and in what order.

So for once, I am actually going to start with all the work I have been doing here in Kenya (yes I do work).

So you know how my dream has always been to live in a village in Africa and learn from people and then work with people to just try out new ideas to help right? Because there is no “silver bullet” no 1 answer to solve a problem in every situation around the world, but if you live with people and work with them to make solutions you can try and try again till you get what fits that problem in that situation. Well that is exactly what I am doing right now here in Kenya.

Meet Nancy and Francis. 

Coolest couple I have ever met. Both are over 60 and both have been working endlessly to make a change in their village of Mirera for ages. Nancy is a community health worker, as in works for the DPHO voluntarily to help push anything from people’s right, to sanitation, to women’s groups. Francis is a Fundi (or carpenter/mason) and an elder in the village. They have a small “shamba” where they take care of their mentally disabled daughter, 1 young son and about 6 grand children. Also on there plot is a small garden where they try and grow vegetables for there home and a church. The church building was built by Francis and meets every night of the week in a small mud building near their house. This couple is all about progress, about helping the whole village, about making a lasting difference. When I barley mentioned the idea of Solar Toilets in a community meeting Nancy immediately jumped on saying that she loves experiments and we can use her plot and any way she can help should would love to. I went to visit her at her Shamba and found that the entire church (50 people every night) uses Nancy’s 1 latrine (that her and Francis built themselves) and that she would love more than anything to have a toilet just for the church. She loved the idea of our solar toilets so she could use the treated waste in her garden where the soil is basically sand. She got very excited, and thanks to GIZ- Hana and I working here as Sanivation had funds to be able to build and test our solar toilet for this church.

Designs began, of how to build a shared toilet and urinal that the church could use that would allow the waste to be treated on a solar concentrator, then composted, and re-used in the garden. We also wanted this toilet to be used long after we are gone weather solar treatment catches on or not. So we designed a solar shared latrine that also has a pit below it as an out strategy if all else fails. We found Chris, another Mason, to help finalize our designs and begin the material purchase. We told Nancy and Francis the dimensions of the pit (4ft diameter, 20 ft deep) and by 9am the next day this older couple, just the 2 of them were almost done digging the pit!

We told them the tree in their garden might be a problem for the solar concentrator and their immediate response was – “we will cut it down if it stands in the way of progress!” We told them we needed to collect some human feces in which to test and they opened up their old pit and started loading waste into the steel drum. We told them we wanted some kitchen scraps (organic waste) to begin compost and the NEXT day she had I giant drum full! Apparently she went around to all the vegetable stalls in the village to collect organic waste. I showed Nancy a picture of a cheap hand washing station called a Tippy Tap and the next day she had one 5 times better built and running next to her toilet!

Any time I mention any idea, both of them are ready and willing to do anything to help try it. We have since then sent up an incinerator for testing on their plot, we are now setting up a solar shower, and solar cookers- all ideas that they are helping me make and test into reality. And it is so much fun! I barley mentioned the idea of Eco-Bricks- these use trashed plastic bottles stuffed with other trash as building blocks and the 2 of them were ready to have 100 Eco-Blocks ready by the weekend for testing. And because of who they are, all the villagers listen to them. We are constantly having locals come by to see what all is going on, and they sit there and explain to people all these new ideas and about the experiments we are doing. It is the best testing site EVER. Both Hana and I LOVE when we get to go to their plot because we know it is going to be so productive and be a total blast.

So here is our solar toilet, still being finished. And here is our solar concentrator used to heat the waste over 70°C in just a couple hours.

All of that has been paid for by GIZ. Then other prototypes such as the solar shower, incinerators, solar cookers, are just coming out of our pockets and I love giving that to these people, but if we want to scale, if we want to do multiple iterations and then teach others how to make these so that it can become a business of its own here, we do need more capital.

Now here is my shameless pitch: if you would like to donate to such an incredible cause here is your chance. Incinerators cost about $50 and can help so much with the trash problems here. Solar showers cost about the same about and so do private solar cookers. All need to be developed till we get it just right and at the right price, then it needs to be taught, then some initial capital to help start a business. We will have locals, currently unemployed, trained in making these and selling them at prices people can afford and work toward new sustainable technologies made by people here in Naivasha for the people of Naivasha.

Let me know if you need/want more details, I am currently working on a way that donations could be made directly to an official non-profit company for tax purposes.